A North Korean nuclear complex that the international community believes can produce weapons-grade fuel is now shut off from the outside world.
The communist government in Pyongyang expelled two international inspectors on Tuesday. And their departure means the International Atomic Energy Agency no longer has any way of directly monitoring the North Korean nuclear complex.
An agency spokeswoman says her office hopes North Korea will change its mind and allow the inspectors to return. The two who were expelled are expected to submit a detailed report to the Vienna-based agency next week.
President Bush said Tuesday he is confident a diplomatic solution can be reached in the North Korean crisis. The president told reporters (near his home in Crawford, Texas) that the United States is working with its Western allies and with China to help persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program.
Mr. Bush said the United States is not expecting a military showdown with North Korea.
In Moscow, North Korea's ambassador to Russia (Pak Ui Chun) blamed the United States for the crisis over his country's nuclear program. He accused Washington of planning to invade North Korea with its own nuclear weaponry.
The ambassador repeated North Korea's call for direct negotiations with the United States to resolve the situation.